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Many years ago, there were four Kingdoms...
This kingdom represented healing, they made the lands finest of medicines and placed their time and effort into studying health. They are settled within the enchanted woods and to reach the city safely, for there are dark creatures that lurk in the shadows one must follow the trail of hearts.
Crops and harvest is where this kingdom thrived. Their land was filled with rich soil and farms stretched on for miles and miles in the fields. They are the easiest to access, as they are in the middle of the others, and are the main food supply to the other three kingdoms.
Deep underground and in the mountains lies this kingdom, they mine for precious jewels and gems. They are the wealthiest kingdom, with little to no poverty, and the most politically advanced.
The final kingdom can be found by the ancient volcanoes, the lava provides heat for the machinery and armour they make for war. They are an otherwise peaceful kingdom, but they are always prepared for war and will make whatever sacrifice is necessary to survive.
There four kingdoms lived in harmony, one could not survive the other and they traded their goods together. But one day... That all changed... The people began to fight, friends turned to enemies, political debates turned sour and soon wars were waged...
That was five years ago and the four kingdoms are no closer to bringing a truce. Nobody knows where the hate stems from, and nobody is willing to find out why. That was until a Princess of Spades learns of a dark secret. With determination and luck on her side, she manages to gather three people from the other kingdoms and it falls on them to bring peace once more....
This is a group Rp! However it can be made into a 1x1. I know I stated that the princess manages to gather three people, but I am willing to expand that. I just wanted at least one person from every kingdom.
• Be ready for open communication with me for planning and letting each other know if we are going to be busy.
• If you are interested, PM your title 'Playing Cards' and send me a filled out skelly once completed.
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Juniper didn't know what to say or how she could word the information that she knew, she was still trying to understand it herself. It left her with a heavy heart and brought back the horrific sight of finding her father… But that never truly left her. It was buried and ingrained into every thought, it haunted and plagued her dreams, the lack of sleep showed on her weary, soft brown eyes. However, her exhaustion would not get in the way of what needed to be done… She may have been abandoning her people and she was aware that her missing presence would be taken advantage of… But, this was her duty. She needed to protect her people.
Juniper didn't know who to trust and she was glad to have Marcus by her side. She knew that that was [I his] duty, nevertheless she was grateful. Having him go with her gave her the confidence she needed to carry on, to know that he trusted her without question. He protected her in many ways, but she considered him to be her dearest friend, even when he was a squire and training to be her future knight. How he didn't question her and simply trusted her, gave her the strength she needed to push on. She nodded to his suggestions, she wasn't thinking straight and so wouldn't be able to contribute a better solution. "Getting to Hearts is going to take longer, but we can re-supply at the kingdoms and if there are any villages on the way.
His smirk was a familiar comfort and she suddenly hugged him, not quite being able to help it. "Thank you, Marcus… But, I should let you know that because you are aiding me you will be charged with either helping me or you may be accused of kidnapping… If you want to turn back, I will understand." She pulled away from the hug and her wide, dark brown eyes were filled with worry and pain. She was relieved when he assured her that he would stay. With one last final hug, they rode off into the night under the safety of the stars. Juniper knew in the morning, when her mother would find the both of them gone, she would send out a search party.
The Spades Kingdom was relatively peaceful until the war, of course, they had an army with well trained soldiers but they were otherwise farmers. Her father recognised that their defences were quite weak, so they needed to be one step ahead of potential enemies. Prevent attacks from even happening. So, he gathered an elite team of soldiers and trained them to be assassin's. No one knew who they were, and so the Kingdom called them The Faceless… They were merciless in their attacks and had yet to fail a mission. They stopped at nothing until their task was done, if they were told to bring Juniper back to the Kingdom of Spades, they would not hesitate to kill those who stood in their way. They were safe as long as they were in another Kingdoms walls, the Faceless can only attack on no man's land. So, as long as they were quick they may just be able to escape their clutches.
They travelled for days through endless fields, it was a shame that they couldn't appreciate the scenery for there truly were some beautiful sights to behold. They only stopped when needed and they took turns in controlling the horse. Due to his nature, Marcus was able to keep her distracted and as much as she didn't want to think, her mind would wander to what she found in the drawer… The image of her father, desperately clinging onto life never left her eyes… She missed him, she wished he were here to help her, guide her, to simply hold her… But, she would not be travelling to her old friends, asking for their aid had her father not been murdered in cold blood.
Soon enough, the both of them stood in front of the stone gates to the Kingdom of Diamonds. She heard crumbling and movement from her left and she found a pair of purple, glowing eyes staring back at her. They were lifeless yet it moved from the shadows, it was slow and careful, as if expecting the two of them to attack. It was now standing in their way and it stared down at them expectantly. A dragon gargoyle, was what it was. A statue powered by the gems Diamond mined. Juniper reached into her bag and showed the beast a scroll, she used to use this when she visited her friends to prove that she was indeed a Princess. The dragon seemed satisfied with a small nod of its head. It turned to Marcus and when he didn't show official papers, the monster began to snarl, it's back slightly arching. Before more could be done, Juniper called out. "It's fine! He's my knight, I need him!" She explained and the dragon suddenly stopped it's movements, returning back to its peaceful state. Using its giant claw it pushed the doors open to reveal a black hole.
The three of them were so distracted that they did not see a tiny creature moving through the grass and then sneak into a large bag.
The dragon stepped to the side to let the two of them through and Juniper stepped down from the horse they had been travelling with. After Marcus followed, they approached the giant, black hole and peered down only to find a large slab of glass ascending towards them. It was decorated with the glowing crystals and there was a guard standing in the middle. He referenced for them to step on and they both complied. He wore a crystal gauntlet of sorts and when they were both on, he made a downwards of his hand and they descended. He turned to them and, with a stoic expression, he explained the rules.
"You may be of Royal blood, Princess Juniper but we are still in war. Your intentions may not be ill willed, but you will be escorted everywhere throughout the Kingdom. If you run away, you will be locked away until the Queen of Spades comes to collect you. This rule applies to either of you breaking laws. It is nothing personal, but a safety precaution."
His voice was monotone, robotic even and slightly unnerving. Juniper nodded her head. "Of course, we understand. We only need the company of the Prince and Princess." She saw the guard tense and open his mouth to speak. "They are expecting me, I sent a letter to them explaining that I would be coming." She added on before the guard could potest. He gave a dutiful nod and with that, came an end to their journey down. He waved a hand again and a large set of doors were opened revealing something truly magnificent. She had seen it many times prior to now, but she has never failed to be in awe of the Diamonds, how they have built a home for themselves underground and harvested an energy source. Only this Kingdom knew of its secrets. It was never taken above ground, visitors were always searched and they had high security on alert. The Diamonds would never part with their findings, especially with the Club's.
It was said that it was Diamonds and Clubs that started the war between the four Kingdoms, that they had finally had enough of their age old bickering and resorted to violence. The two societies had very different ways of living, Clubs was always ready for war whereas Diamonds preferred to debate. Their clashing perspectives resulted in many arguments, maybe this war was another that simply took the wrong turn.
Of course, Juniper knew that not to be true and she had to keep that in mind as she walked through the crystal lit stone streets, amongst the pale people who hadn't seen the sun in weeks, months, years even. They finally made it to the castle and the detail was immaculate. With the Diamonds being the richest kingdom, they had a flare for the dramatic and elegant. Even the poorest citizen of Diamonds would be more rich than the middle class farmer of Spades. This made Juniper and Marcus stand out like a sore thumb. Not only was their skin darker as they practically spent all their time in the sun, but the people were dressed in gowns and suits, whereas the two of them wore commoner's clothes. She loved the Kingdom of Diamonds, but she preferred the simplicity of her own place.
As was stated, they were escorted everywhere, even into the castle and it wasn't until they were dismissed by the Prince and Princess were they left alone. Juniper smiled at them and rushed to embrace the twins. "I've missed you both so much… This wretched war." She pulled away from the hug and looked at them.
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Whatever the princess had planned, the young knight was helpless to follow along. He assumed this was a simple trip to the city again, a chance to sneak out and find something more fun than the non-stop diplomacy the pair often had to endure. Granted, the princess was never one to cause [b too much] trouble. No, this was something relegated to the knight who had been brought up in that city. Before his time as a page, he knew those streets inside and out, familiar with every alley and doorway. This included every path into the castle grounds as well.
It wasn't as if Marcus wasn't also of noble birth. Many knights were, and to be knighted, it was often required. After all, a knight not being noble was often seen to be as low as a barbarian from Clubs!
Even so... Marcus general demeanor was less polished than that. His family was on the lower end of nobility, giving him more leeway to do things like, say, befriend a princess? Well... even that had been tempered in his time as page, soon to be squire, and eventually her Knight and protector.
Service to the princess was never dull, at least! When she came in with her request, he eagerly heard the start of her details...
Then with much apprehension as she laid out her plan to visit the heirs she once spoke with regularly. It was one thing to go gallivanting where Marcus could have some control in the environment, keep Juniper safe, and have her back in time for dinner! This was completely unsanctioned and risked his neck. However, his neck would be on the chopping block whether he left with her or not. Thus... leaving with her at least gave him a head start.
Not that he was about to let the woman go alone anyway! While she prepared the letters to send, he prepared the supplies and horse needed for their travel. He stripped away the more cosmetic armor that the Queen required while in the palace, and replaced them with a padded tunic and pants better made for long travels. He supplied a cloak to the princess, one of his own, and acquired an extra from a servant who owed him a favor. After all, both of them needed to look like they didn't belong in a castle, but rather, on a road to somewhere far away.
So the day came. The letters had been given apt time to reach their recipients. The only question, as the pair sneaked past the city gates, was where they were heading first.
[b "I suggest we travel to the Kingdom of Diamonds first,"] he advised. [b "It's a closer journey, and from there we can move on to Clubs, which borders it."] He would have suggested Hearts, but he had a sneaking suspicion that one of the recipients might find them before they found her. Even if he wasn't always able to see Juniper in his training, he had heard much about her youth from her own lips. These allies were friends of her's from before the war, a time when the families came together to maintain peace...
Even now, Marcus never knew what had changed. Older knights often answered with a curt "you're too young to truly understand" and go about their business. This was frustrating, but unavoidable for him.
[b "Of course, your highness, I could always act as your silent protector."] As he said this, a smirk crawled onto his features. This was a challenge for him, even when he tried to act proper. Marcus was not known for his silence. In fact, he was quite loud, a bane of his instructors everywhere. Whether it was a quip or a laugh or some friendly chatter, he always seemed to have something to say, tact or no.
Whatever the decision, it would take a few days of travel. After all, they would have to stop and rest and care for the horse as well as themselves. The knight remembered his own training, and the times it involved scouting and camping. He was familiar with this, but this was not a journey he had thought to take Juniper on before. With any hope, it would bore or bother her too much. The hardest part of a journey was often how long it took to get there. At least, that was how it felt for him.
Andrion stood in the barracks with the rest of his allies, knights to the realm of the Diamond kingdom, they were on break from their duties and relished in the opportunity to relax. The blond knight was affable with his fellows, bringing smiles to their tired faces as he checked in and made them feel at ease with his camaraderie. The soft purple glow of lighting crystals were familiar around the hanging stalactites in which were carved out to make their homes. Stretching caverns, hung bridges and corridors that all connected to the palace; the palace itself rose from the cave floor adorned in gold, jewels and the peak blasted beams of purple light illuminating their world beneath the mountains.
The mountain kingdom laid far beneath the surface, to which sunlight could never reach as they continued to expand beneath the rich mountain earth filled with ores, gems and jewels. The Diamond Kingdom was by far the wealthiest of the four, flaunting their riches with boastful pride. Andrion did not really care about such things, the wealth of the land was not his to claim, he was simply a knight whose heart was not yet marred by the tragedies of war. As much as he was eager to fight for his kingdom something kept him from being deployed with the rest of the battalions. Andrion was constantly stationed to guard the palace, his superior said they had strict orders to do so; Andrion desperately wanted to prove himself on the field of battle but never had the chance.
What about him was too much of a risk? If he was to die in service to his Kingdom would that not be an honorable death? He was the son of a noble, their family hardly held much importance in the grand scheme of things but still he was never sent to war. His comrades joked that he had someone higher up looking out for him, they knew how badly the young knight wanted to fight but no one knew why he was always given the safe stations, guarding the castle and other menial positions.
Yet Andrion's yearning for more would soon come to fruition as he received a summons from the prince and princess, a rare and confusing summons Andrion wasted no time to not keep the royals waiting. The twins were heirs to the Kingdom, born seconds apart they both shared pale skin and fair hair, nearly white like their mother the Queen. When Andrion found them they were talking quietly to themselves, both tall and lanky dressed in white and gold that glittered in shimmering crystal-light. They accentuated their faces with dark makeup, carefully painted in traditional style, each adorned with valuable gold trinkets and silk.
Andrion gave a reverent bow to them when he was noticed, a small smile briefly crossed the prince's face as his sister just stared at Andrion with a steeled gaze, giving little to no recognition. The knight knew his station, not even taking offense to the cold reception, the prince was the first to speak he held a rolled parchment in his hand. They were to be expecting a guest from the kingdom of Spades, the knight knew emissaries were sent between kingdoms all the time yet these were hostile times. Emissaries were rare and the travel throughout the four kingdoms would be extremely dangerous.
The princess of Spades would be traveling to their kingdom, that was what was very strange-typically ambassadors were non-essential servants in case a messenger would be executed for unfavorable news. She was to arrive shortly and they wanted Andrion to accompany her on in their stead, he did not know the reasons for the visit but they told him to make her feel at ease-for whatever it was worth. She was asking for their help, for what he could not know as she left the details unwritten however the twins had determined that they were to send Andrion to help Princess Juniper. The young knight brushed a hand through his blond hair, sweeping it back off his forehead as his green eyes wandered over the rolled up parchment in the prince's hand. Was there something more written they were not telling him?
Andrion jumped at the opportunity, a chance to serve his kingdom and earn his stripes as a knight of the realm, he wanted so desperately to prove himself worthy of the banners carried upon the battlefield. Andrion talked with the young royals at length, his amicable attitude allowed them to feel at ease and his charisma gave him the upper hand in gleaning more information than they normally would have shared with someone of his rank. Andrion knew the kingdoms were still waging a brutal war, but they told him he'd have to be friends with the visiting princess, at least friendly enough to where they'd cooperate. If his skills for diplomacy were needed Andrion would gladly give them, though he silently hoped to prove himself a formidable fighter as well. He did not know how long it would take the Spade's princess to arrive, but he speculated that navigating the terrain of war could be very dangerous to those unaccustomed to the areas-and the mountain caverns could be [i very] treacherous indeed...
Juniper had been the one to find him, laying on the floor, desperately trying to breathe as foamed gathered at his mouth. She remembered screaming for help, dropping to her knees beside him and holding his hand. She had told him that everything would be ok, that she loved him and that she needed him to hold on. He had looked at her and tried to tell her something, but the Healers came rushing into the room and insisted that she leave the room. Her mother was called for and the two stood outside, impatiently waiting for the words that her father was alive. But, after half an hour, a healer stepped out into the hallway, head bowed. He told them they had been too late to save her father and that he had passed. She embraced her mother and sobbed into her shoulder as her father's body was taken away.
The two weeks leading up to his funeral, she spent in her bedroom. She couldn't bare to walk the halls and sit in the rooms he had been in, to think of all the memories they had made and could no longer make more. She only spoke to her mother and Marcus, who was her personal knight.
Then came the funeral. He was buried in the field that he had first planted as king. The whole kingdom mourned his death. He had been well-loved by his people, celebrated even and so, it came as a shock when they were told that he had been poisoned. At this news the Queen and Princess were moved to a secret location, for their protection, and the king's death was placed under investigation. Three months later and the authorities could find no sign or trail of the murderer. They had simply vanished into thin air with no apparent intention of returning. Juniper was allowed back into the castle and the first thing she did was walk to her father's office. She ran her fingers over the various weapons and furs that lined the wall, all belonging to her ancestors. She sat at his desk and her tense body relaxed at the familiar smell of her father. She looked to his desk and at all the pictures she had drawn for him. A soft smile played at her lips as tears gently rolled down her cheeks, pain filled her heart and to try and distract herself she began to search through the drawers.
She didn't find anything interesting, mainly letters, maps and laws. But then, something caught her attention. A small folder at the bottom of the pile she pulled out. She opened the folder and began to skim through the various documents. Her brown, puffy eyes widened and she gasped, dropping the folder down on the desk. "Oh gods." She muttered under her breath. However, she began to hear footsteps and so she quickly tidied everything away to how it was. She had just managed to close the drawer when her mother walked in. "Flower, what are you doing in here?" The woman asked gently. If Juniper hadn't been so observant, she'd never had seen her mother's tense posture or heard the suspicion in her voice. "Nothing mama, I just wanted to sit in his chair for a moment… It still smells like him and…" Just like that, her mother was back to normal and she opened her arms for a hug. Despite how much she didn't want to return it, she had to. She couldn't let her mother know what she was up to…
Soon enough, the two parted ways and she left to see her knight. She found the man in his room and she finally let herself breath. She shut the door behind her and began to feel the tears well up in her eyes once more. "Marcus… There's something I need to do. I can only trust you and so, I need you to come with me. I promise that I will explain everything later… But, we just need to leave the castle… Please help me." Being the loyal guard he was, he agreed and as he planned their escape, Juniper wrote three letters to her fellow prince and princesses
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After the letters were sent to her childhood friends, she returned to Marcus. They both dressed in simple, light clothing, took some supplies from the kitchens before slipping away into the dark on a single horse.
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/k66gL6i.jpg?1]] [size10 [i The children in Clubs were born by the ash and heat of a volcano. It is often rumored that their first cries were ones of battle, freshly out of their mother wombs. By the time many were crawling, they were battling too, either with enemies all around them, or with their own inner nature. It was no secret that the citizens of the Kingdom of Clubs were aggressive, brutish to outsiders. Aideen, only child to the King and Queen of Clubs, was no exception to this. After eighteen years of training, learning, studying, and planning, she felt truly ready to take her spot as the next ruler of the nation...
But instead she stood, furious, as her mother sternly pointed out their "position" again.
[b "Aideen... I assumed you would have realized by now. You were not given training in combat alone. The lessons on politics, etiquette, and history should have prepared you for this."] The Queen of Clubs was the image of composed in the face of her daughter's mounting frustrations. While Aideen stood with fists clenched and back straight as a steel rod, her mother looked graceful. Almost... relaxed. How could she not? She stood with the utmost confidence as the Queen, and saw it as her responsibility to uphold the peace of her country, yes? How did one do this when they were a hopeless mess?
[b "Tonight, your father and I will be sorting through possible partners for you. After all, you are the only princess in this kingdom."]
Aideen actually spat on the ground at the mention of such a weak title. A "princess". What a disgusting notion to them!
[b "I'm not a princess,"] they objected, their voice slowly starting to raise. [b "I am the Heir to this kingdom, and rightfully so!"] They threw their arm in a wide gesture toward the view of her mother's open window. [b "All I need is a chance to prove it, without someone in my way! I don't need a husband. I need an opportunity."] Aideen watched as their mother's composure cracked an inch. Ah, there it was. The actual feelings. They felt like they were arguing with a brick then.
[b "Aideen Hearn! This is an opportunity! This is the perfect opportunity to serve your kingdom by making our family STRONGER!"] Her voice even raised, if not as much as Aideen's. It didn't need to. Her tone was filled with a conviction that told Aideen that this fight was pointless. Their mother's mind would not change... yet. Not until Aideen did something drastic, but what?
Aideen's jaw set, and she turned and left her mother's chambers. After all, this discussion had been a private one. Or, at least as private as Aideen could keep it when yelling at their parents. It was possible a servant heard, or a page running by. In fact, it appeared as if their was a page near by. The page was a young boy who looked close to squiring age. Aideen wished they had received training in this fashion too. Knight training for them was always a bit delayed. In fact, Aideen was certain they should have been training more... but there were their mother's lessons too...
Such thoughts were interrupted as the page held a note out to Aideen.
Aideen accepted the note wordlessly. The page offered a deep bow before leaving. Aideen waited until the page left before examining the envelope.
There was... something strange. Most of the parchment in Clubs was an off-yellow color, standard, lacking any design or frivolity. That suited their people well enough. Messages were meant to be read, committed to memory, and then tucked away, no? They were not pretty notes to pass back and forth between friends.
This was a bit nicer, though. It seemed more like a diplomatic note, something formal. So why was it sent to Aideen? They looked closer. Aideen had few ties outside of the palace... so it had to be important, right? They went to their own room immediately, tucking the note in a pocket inside of their coat while they walked.
The Palace was built almost entirely of stone and metal. Stories of their nation's history and their family's lineage were carved into the walls by expert artisans, depicting battles and triumphs. Aideen paused by one of their father, depicting the king leading their people to topple a tyrannical general who had threatened their freedoms years before Aideen was even born. aideen reached out and gently traced an outline of the sword their father held, then the same hand rested at the hilt of their dagger. It was long enough to almost resemble a short sword, but it still held a design eerily similar to the sword their father would hold at his hip now.
[b "Off training the troops again,"] Aideen said to the image. [b "You should have taken me too. Mother must have told you not to... Well, I'll see you as soon as I can break away."]
Aideen then left the story to finish the walk to their room. It was a rather spartan set up for royalty, but Aideen wanted to strip away everything that might make someone think "princess" when looking at them. There was a desk angled to face the door. It seemed most of the furniture was set up just so to keep the door in view.
There was one point of luxury, though. A stand of some kind was near the suspiciously unguarded and opened window. A branching section of the stand was home to a bird of some breed. Aideen was never sure what. It was too big to be a crow or raven, despite its pitch black feathers. Still, the bird was loyal to the Heir, and woke from his rest to land on their desk. Aideen gave the creature a small stroke along his chest.
[b "Ash, I hope your view was peaceful."] The bird let out two low pitched caws. Then settled.
Aideen sat at the desk and opened the letter. As they read the contents, their face broke into a grin.
[b "I don't need a husband. I need an opportunity!"]
Well... it seemed opportunity might be knocking, and for once, Aideen was content to sit and wait, seeing what was in store. If the contents of this letter was true, then it seemed the Royalty of Clubs, particularly Aideen, would be receiving a special guest soon.
[b "Maybe I will dress up for once,"] Aideen mused to the bird. [b "After all, mother wouldn't have it any other way.
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